Huddersfield Town and Nottingham Forest compete for the biggest financial prize in world football

City Ground

On Sunday, Huddersfield Town and Nottingham Forest will contest what is widely recognised the “most valuable fixture in world football”.

According to analysis from Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, the winning side stands to walk away from the match with total additional future revenues of more than around £170m over the next three seasons.

This year’s play-off final sees Huddersfield, who are looking to regain a place in the Premier League after being relegated at the end of the 2018/19 season, take on Forest, who are seeking to play in the top-flight for the first time since 1998/99.

This analysis of additional future revenues is comprised of estimated increases to the clubs’ own commercial and matchday revenues and secured central Premier League revenues primarily relating to broadcast rights (approximately£90m minimum), and parachute payments in 2023/24 and 2024/25 should they be relegated (circa £80m).

Tim Bridge, a director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “Wembley this weekend is host to the match with the most lucrative prize in world football. Following a fiercely contested season, the winner of Sunday’s Championship play-off final will walk off the pitch having secured additional future revenues of at least £170m.

“With the final set to kick-off in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley this weekend – the first time the play-off will be played in front of stands at full capacity since the 2018/19 season – the atmosphere will be electric. Fans are invested in the goal of seeing their club re-enter the top-flight of English football. Promoted teams benefit from considerable financial gains which can deliver new player signings, stadium improvements and more.

“However, whilst a narrow majority of clubs promoted to the Premier League over the past decade survived their first season, half of the play-off final winners have not. Hence the winner of Sunday’s game will face the challenge of maintaining the excitement of fans, as well as balancing financial stability in the coming months. This Sunday’s game holds the key to re-entering the top-flight of English football, but the harder battle is to come: staying in it.”


Finishing position for clubs in the first season following promotion to the Premier League

Season of promotion Championship Winners Championship Runners-Up Play-Off Winners
2011/12 Reading – 19th Southampton – 14th West Ham United – 10th
2012/13 Cardiff City – 20th Hull City – 16th Crystal Palace – 11th
2013/14 Leicester City – 14th Burnley – 19th Queens Park Rangers – 20th
2014/15 Bournemouth – 16th Watford – 13th Norwich City – 19th
2015/16 Burnley – 16th Middlesbrough – 19th Hull City – 18th
2016/17 Newcastle – 10th Brighton – 15th Huddersfield – 16th
2017/18 Wolverhampton Wanderers – 7th Cardiff City – 18th Fulham – 19th
2018/19 Norwich City – 20th Sheffield United – 9th Aston Villa – 17th
2019/20 Leeds United – 9th West Bromwich Albion – 19th Fulham – 18th
2020/21 Norwich City – 20th Watford – 19th Brentford – 13th

Note: Clubs in bold avoided relegation in their first season following promotion to the Premier League.